20 Babysitting Tips Every New Sitter Should Know

parentingages and stages

Babysitting isn't merely about being present in someone's home and occasionally looking at the child to make sure he or she is still breathing. Your children need to realize that babysitting means they are responsible for anything that happens to the one they are watching. It is a great responsibility, and there is an immense amount of trust one needs to have in a babysitter.


20 Babysitting Tips

1. Emergency Contacts—The first thing your child needs to establish is who to call in the event of an emergency. This includes where the parents are going to be while your kid is babysitting.

2. Know Your Limitations—There is nothing wrong with turning down a job that may be too difficult for your child to accomplish. Young babysitters may have a hard time dealing with special needs children, for example.

3. PunctualityA babysitting job should be viewed like any other. Parents don't want to be kept waiting if their babysitter is late. Your child needs to know that if he or she is late, it could cause a ripple effect making everyone else late as well.

4. Family CommunicationYour child needs to keep in communication with you as well as his or her employer. Keeping you informed can help eliminate any miscommunication as to what is going on.

5. InteractivityYour teenager needs to know how to be interactive with the child. He or she is babysitting, and social media and chatting with friends needs to be put on the back burner.

6. FeedbackParents appreciate honest feedback about how the day of babysitting went. Teach your child that communication with a parent about the situation is not the same as being a "tattle-tale."

7. PaymentMost babysitting jobs can be negotiable when it comes to pay, but your child should have a basic idea of what his or her time is worth.

8. EntertainingProviding entertainment for the one being babysat can help your teen keep control of the situation. Help them develop a good regimen of fun that can keep the child engaged.

9. FoodsOne important aspect of babysitting is knowing what foods the child can and cannot eat. Your babysitter doesn't want to inadvertently cause an allergic reaction if he or she is preparing meals or snacks.

10. DisciplineNot every form of disciplinary action is accepted in all homes. Your babysitting kid needs to know what are acceptable forms of corrective action should the child disobey.

11. Who Are They?A good idea for your babysitting child is to get to know the family he or she will be working for prior to the job. This will help determine if the job will be a good fit.

12. CongenialityThe babysitter needs to have a certain level of congeniality between themselves and who it is they work for.

13. Emergency ProceduresYour child needs to know the emergency procedures for evacuation for fire, earthquake, tornado, or any other natural disaster your area may experience.

14. FriendlinessInstruct your teen to try and befriend the child they are babysitting. A friend can be more respected than a sitter and the child could respond much better.

15. Self-sufficiencyYour teen needs to be prepared for any contingency and how to walk away from circumstances that may put him or her in danger. If the parents of the child come home drunk, your teen should know better than to accept a ride home from them.

16. ProtectionYour child should know by now how to protect themselves when in the home alone. Locking all doors, windows, and ignoring strangers at the door can keep the household safe.

17. Rules of the HomeYour child needs to know and follow the rules of the home that he or she is babysitting in. These rules were developed for a reason and it's not your teen's place to question what works for the other family.

18. CPR or First Aid—Courses in CPR are offered in a variety of locations for free. Local fire departments are usually a great resource for these training courses for teenagers.

19. Training CoursesMany areas offer babysitting courses through social services or even high school counselors. Any child care development training can be beneficial for the prospective babysitter.

20. PermissionMake sure your child knows that he or she always needs to have your permission before taking a babysitting job.

Although most of the best methods for babysitting are common sense, you'd be amazed at how often these small tidbits of information are overlooked. If your own child is preparing his or her own babysitting job, make sure they are ready for the situation. Like any other job, the more knowledge one has, the more successful the one is.

When do you think it is a good time to start letting your children babysit for other people?

Picture courtesy of Flickr

Rachel Thomas  is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to [email protected].


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